Getting up at 5:00 in the morning to watch your absolute favourite footballer play and having his team win? Priceless.
Getting up a 5:00 in the morning to watch your favourite footballer work, and work, and work throughout the match and then missing his penalty thus essentially making his team lose and seeing him heartbroken? That feeling you get when a hundred knifes stab you simultaneously.
Argentina made it to their third consecutive final in three years (World Cup 2014, Copa America 2015 and now Copa America 2016), and with Leo Messi on his God-given brilliant form, they were definite favourites.
In a repeat of last year’s final, Argentina and Chile played out a goalless 90 minutes followed by a goalless half an hour, finally leading up to penalties (which are usually the best part of the match unless you’re sitting there shivering, waiting for your team to win)
After Argentina’s keeper saved Chile’s first penalty, it was Messi up for his. And then when the ball went way, way above the bar and Lionel Messi missed; my mom, quite literally, walked over and closed my opened jaw. My dad snickered on my right and every single supporter in the stadium stood stunned.
But none of this, not even one, was anything remotely compared to Lionel Messi’s face. That absolute shock and devastated look that he had was enough to make you want to hug him and tell him that it wasn’t all his fault.
As each shooter stood up to take their shot, the cameras focused on Messi again, and all he could do was stand there, trying so, so hard not to break down.
When Chile won, they celebrated and danced and the Argentina players sat heartbroken on the ground. Messi quietly picked himself up and went and sat in the dugout before burying his face in his hands, possibly thinking the same thing that everyone else was : This was all once again, his fault.
For the past three years, Lionel Messi has captained the Argentina side to three finals, losing all three of them. Despite of winning everything possible in his domestic club career, he has not managed the same consistency with this country. Time and again Messi has been mocked and picked on by the world’s media for consistently failing at the International level. And every time Argentina has lost in the past few years, Messi has had the same heartbroken and devastated look on his face. Argentina has now lost the last 7 finals they’ve been a part of and go 23 years without a trophy. After I switched off the TV and waited for the inevitable, my news app sends this: “Argentina lose to Chile 2-4 on penalties. Lionel Messi missed penalty.” And obviously tomorrow’s papers are going to be filled with reports and articles criticizing him and blaming him for yet another loss.
All in all, nothing, nothing hurts me more than Leo Messi’s heartbroken face, and I wish they’d finally win something so that face would disappear.